MICHELLE FERRARI

Mexico 2022 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Michelle Ferrari, President of the Women Economic Forum Iberoamérica, Partner of Great Place to Work México, CA & Caribe, and CEO of Great Culture to Innovate, about Mexico as a place to do business.

What are the goals of WEF, and what are some of the targets behind the event?

I represent the WEF for all Iberoamerican countries, which includes all the Spanish-speaking countries, as well as Spain in the international group. WEF is part of a group called All Ladies League that seeks to boost connectivity among women at a global level. The main goal is to connect more than a million women in this league as well as to reduce the women gap. To reduce the women gap, we have to create a network to connect businesses and opportunities. Through the All Ladies League, we host events in each of the countries where we participate. There are more than 100 events per year of the Women Economic Forum, in each of its chapters. The goal is to share a platform that gives voice to the different people who participate. This is not just a forum to empower women or showcase women who have been successful; we want the audience that connects with this content to get inspired. We want women to get empowered to gain more economic independence. These forums bring inspirational and motivational content to motivate women. We have content in many areas, including education, corporate, and government issues. The speakers who come to these forums come pro bono. The goal is to collaborate to make the world a better place. When financial inclusion also affects women, it is better for the entire economy.

How did you adapt your economic model given the pandemic context?

Many of these forums have taken place in an online format, and a large part of the forum will remain virtual. It is free to participate in the online format, which enables us to reach out to more viewers. We have a YouTube channel where we stream our content. Our ultimate goal is to give everyone access to this inspirational content that has the potential to change many women's lives. Doing these events in an online format was a great success and a great decision. We had 611,000 viewers, not only in Mexico, but in other locations as well. These are impressive numbers, and we achieved them online. In addition, in 2021 we partnered with Expansion, which helped greatly because it also promoted the event on its social networks.

How is your work in WEF related to GCTI?

Right now, I spend most of my time collaborating with organizations that are seeking to transform their workforce. The main goal of my work is to help organizations transform themselves through their people. My work is heavily connected to the goal of ensuring that human resources remain the most valuable asset of a company. When one talks about the innovative culture, it focuses on innovative manners to do things differently. Within the innovation culture, diversity plays a major role to understand how leaders can manage this diversity. Having different profiles helps an organization as a whole and brings different ways of looking at problems. At GCTI, we also measure cognitive diversity and the manner in which people innovate. Each individual has a different personality that adds to the innovative process. We measure many different types of diversity. A company that wants a diverse workforce must make an effort to manage these different profiles.

How do you select the companies that you will evaluate?

It is a process through invitation of bids. Our partner, in this case Expansion, opens a process, and we participate in it. We typically work with companies that are interested in advancing in this area of innovation and diversity. We provide the assessment of the entire process. Our value is the diagnosis and the data to generate a culture of innovation. We diagnose the potential aspects of the organization that can generate an innovative culture, and diversity is one of the four factors that we measure. We then provide them with an action plan that helps organizations implement that diversity. We worked with 136 companies in the first year.

You recently published the results of your first GCTI ranking in Mexico. What are some of the findings?

When someone implements any type of assessment under the GCTI parameters, which are based on data science, it gives decision makers more power. Such assessments bring interesting findings to help a company move to a better situation. Each time you see results to improve the superficial or cognitive diversity, opportunities are created. We have to bring new capacities to our leaders to ensure that innovation flourishes. We have seen interesting data from cognitive diversity. Many people are focused on superficial diversity, because they want to have the figures to show diversity. However, a lot has to be done in terms of cognitive diversity. This innovative data science has brought great capacity to release workers' potential. We will release more studies and issue more reports with the same data we have gathered. The next reports will on the most innovative CEOs and then the most innovative companies for women to work for. It is interesting to see the policies that companies have that are beneficial for women as well as the investments being made in terms of inclusion and empowerment. We are working to bring this data into the market and create a more modern Mexico and a more sustainable and competitive economy.